All aTwitter

MTSU’s “tweet-pert” weighs in on the interaction of social media and business

The buzz around social media and its many uses has businesses and professionals thinking about how they can make the most of Twitter and other online information networks like it. A professor of marketing in the Jennings A. Jones College of Business at MTSU, Dr. Don Roy, has been recognized for his insight into the emerging social media trend.

This past spring, Roy received an award from, which named his Twitter account among the top 50 for business-school professors. He is also ranked 65 out of 100 on Social Media Marketing magazine’s top marketing professors roster, which includes academics who offer awareness in advances that affect business professionals.

Roy says he became curious about the phenomenon of Twitter soon after it hatched in 2007, before smartphones were everywhere and when it was text-driven with 140-character limits.

“It just intrigued me—why are people doing this?” Roy says. “So I thought, ‘Let me join and watch and kind of see what’s going on.’”

Roy soon set up his Twitter account to act as a portal to his blog, Marketing Dr: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly of Marketing (, which encompasses review and critique of business practices and marketing techniques and includes advice for burgeoning business professionals.

What Roy has learned is that businesses have an advantage through social media that they have not had in the past: virtually free marketing research.

“People are talking, not only about your products, but about what they like, what they don’t like, and what’s important to them—this treasure trove of information that you really don’t have to pay for,” Roy says. “It’s just out there for the taking. It does take some investment in time or software.”

Roy says that consumers are also benefiting from an influx of information about products and services.

“Social media is important because it gives all of us a voice as opposed to traditional mass media,” Roy says. “Communication has largely been one way; it’s been the business talking to the consumer. The business had the information advantage because they possessed more information than the customer did.”

Creating a clear and consistent social media brand for a business can be difficult, Roy says, but there are measures that a company can take to ensure that its online voice reflects the values of the business.

“Generally, the way to deal with that is to have specific people who are trusted with social media,” Roy says. “They’re trained. They get it.”

This principle is also the key, Roy says, to avoid situations in which an employee might say something inconsistent with the overall brand. According to Roy, whether you have one person or half a dozen working your social media, it is very important that they “understand the strategy behind it—and that there is a strategy behind it.”

Roy stresses that social media has become an asset and necessity to career-minded persons in virtually all professions.

“Information equals power, and I think social media is important no matter whether you are a young professional or someone older,” Roy says. “Personally, I look for professional development. To me, one of the most valuable forms of sharing on social media is if you have something you can give to other people.”

Roy has been named by as one of the top 50 business school professors to follow on Twitter. You can find his blog, “Marketing Dr: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly of Marketing,” at
Roy also is listed as one of Social Media Marketing magazine’s top marketing professors at

— Amanda Haggard